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Ban on Triclosan not Warranted says EPA in Response to a Citizen Petition

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 13, 2015, that the currently available information does not support cancelling registered pesticide products containing the antimicrobial triclosan. The announcement was made in response to a Citizen Petition filed on January 14, 2010, by Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides. During the comment period, which was extended until April 8, 2011, EPA received tens of thousands of letters or signatures in support of the ban in triclosan, and over 4000 in support of continued registration. The Citizen Petition and letters of support claimed, among other things, that triclosan causes endocrine disruption, contributes to antibiotic resistance, and is bioaccumulative.

In addition to cancelling the registration for pesticide products containing triclosan, the petition also requested that EPA take several other actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; Clean Water Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; and Endangered Species Act (ESA). In its response, EPA noted that the agency is currently engaged in assessing the risks posed by triclosan through the risk assessment process in the registration review program. These risks include a comprehensive review of human health and ecological risks (under FIFRA) and the risk assessment process for biosolids (under CWA). Depending on the results of these assessments, the agency said it may consider new regulatory action if warranted.

EPA denied the petitioners' request for regulatory actions in advance of scheduled review and risk assessment processes, explaining that EPA has previously determined that pesticide products containing triclosan will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment and that the agency does not plan to take any actions before its analyses have been completed. However, EPA did grant the petitioners' request to evaluate and conduct a biological assessment of the potential for effects on listed species under ESA in as much as this risk assessment is already part of EPA's ongoing triclosan registration review.

More information on EPA's decisions with respect to the petition can be found in the docket for this action at, Docket ID # EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0548.